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Ty Ar Boudiged (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Today we have been to Brest, to Oceanopolis, Brittany's biggest aquarium, our hotel in Vannes is about a hundred miles away. In between the two, more or less, is Ty Ar Boodigay. Ever since Moth and Jane went there nearly five years ago, the name has been rattling round my head, and, even if the precise picture of it had faded in my mind the memory of a perfect chambered cairn had remained, I must see it, I decided, next time I'm in the area (like I come here all the time?).

It is a drive of over forty miles from Brest to Brennelis and I'd be needing some petrol, so I chose to go along the main N12 duel carriageway from Brest to Morlaix, but there was not one petrol station (at home I'd have passed at least three), very close to running out I went into Morlaix, a big town, but not big enough to have a petrol station though. I thought of going to Barnenez cairn instead, but stuck to my guns, in the end I found a petrol station after much panicking and flustering, and soon we were heading south on the right road, with petrol a plenty. Bloody Frenchies.
Brennelis is a very small town in Brittany's rocky hilly interior, it is as hilly as it gets in Brittany but it's nothing like Snowdonia or owt, a bit like Bodmin moors high places.

The official car park quickly passed us by on our left, so we turned back and parked up, it was a big area but we were all alone. Nice.
The chamber is visible under a tree and close to the car, half a minutes walk. The back end of the chamber is arrived at first, something has been removed from the side of the chamber and you can scramble in through the wide gap.
But I like to walk all the way round before I go in, but all the way round can't be done because of a low wall that slightly truncates the barrow, that and a bit of graffiti inside are all that's wrong with it.
Around the front is the entrance, and it is a wide and welcoming entrance that beckons you in, I suspect that a cap stone or two may be missing from the very front. Inside it is dry, light and airy, and there is a standing stone. What ?
Where have I seen one of those before ? well Bryn Celli Ddu for a start, and like that one the stone is not structural in any way, very mysterious.
It's late in the afternoon now and it's almost time to go, it has been a perfect time here at Ty Ar Boudiket, a picnic would be ideal, a cold beer or two sublime.
Swallows squealing round, warm dappled sunlight filters down through the trees, it is lovely lovely lovely, I am very sad to have to leave, but I'm already looking forward to the next time , and the holidays not over just yet.

Ty ar Chorriket (Arc-boutée) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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La Loge Aux Loups (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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Kergadiou Menhirs (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Just 8km away from Kerloas, these two sites were very high on my wish list, the 1st and 3rd tallest stones in Brittany. There was much more in the area I wanted to see, but these damn French roads are perfectly designed to take you in the opposite direction to the way you want to go. After the big Aquarium at Brest (titter) we got horribly messed about, I've developed a special hatred for French road designers, they are all manner of unrepeatable
swear words. A pox upon them.
But, the ancient Bretons must be applauded for their stone shifting efforts, it is nothing short of superhuman. Few places in Britain or the rest of the world can be compared to Brittany. It is the stuff of dreams come true. The biggest stones in the world, the highest concentration of stones and dolmens anywhere. One cannot enthuse about the place enough.
The French have tried really hard to make the rest of the place a nightmare though, they've taken all the best ideas the modern age has to offer then fluffed it up royally.

Oh yes the stones, they're allright I suppose.

Trip advisor indeed.

Parking is easy, finding the signposted duo is easy. Eric elected to go barefoot, he's turned a bit feral so far from home. From the corner of the field the up right menhir is arrived at first, it is only a little shorter than Kerloas and Dol, but you'd need a tape measure and some extending ladders to prove it.
Tall and lean and made of stone, it is a perfect example of a menhir.
But the other stone has had an accident, it's fallen over, not all the way though, you can get onto the stone and walk all the way to it's tip, thus making an inspection of the tip of the stone ultra easy. Eric and me sat with our legs dangling over the edge, swinging back and forth, like kids do. We stayed until someone else came, a little man with a big camera, over compensating some might say, we gave him the field and headed off to Morlaix, after getting turned around in Brest (tiiter) again.

Kerloas (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Kerloas, the field of sadness, grief or mourning, which ever meaning you take it is not a happy place.
But today it is a very happy place, I have the stone all to myself, but should we call it a stone ? it is made of stone, granted, but a tall thin mountain would be more like it.
Is this the tallest standing stone in the whole world ? excepting Egyptian obelisks, which to my mind don't count. If it isn't, ive yet to hear of a bigger one. Some say it is 9.5 meters high, which is exactly what they say of Champ Dolent menhir, so it is equal first place, but then Kerloas has been truncated, cut short by as much as two meters, the broken bits apparently carted away by local farmer.

As I walk around I cant help smiling at the incredulous hugeness of it, 350 tonnes, dragged over 3km and then stood upright. Blammo, is your mind intact, nowhere near.
The two bumps carved on its lower flanks are very intriguing, his and hers fertility rubbing points, tosh I'd say, I tried, I'm too short by nearly a foot. So I decided it was for medicinal purposes, I rubbed my back where I had my operation and I'm glad to say that it does not hurt at all, it could just be good doctormanship instead though.

Not far from the big car park, very easy to find, well, your not going to miss it are you.
I combined it with a trip to Oceanopolis, Brittany's biggest aquarium, the kids loved it.

Ty Ar Boudiged (Chambered Tomb) — Images

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Kergadiou Menhirs (Standing Stones) — Images

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Kerloas (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

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Mane Lud (Tumulus (France and Brittany)) — Fieldnotes

It was getting late now and I was on my way back to the hotel, but as I was driving past I saw a sign saying Mane Lud Dolmen, and like I said, when a dolmen throws itself in front of you, it is impossible to resist a quick look, and it was I'm afraid to say a very quick look.
I came at it from the opposite direction to Moth and Jane, who seem to have been every where around here. The parking place is large, room for twenty cars at least. The path goes off towards some houses, it takes maybe five minutes from car to dolmen. It is a weird path, going where you don't expect it to, it ended in a small cul de sac, the dolmen is just round the corner. The mound is massive, this is another one of Copes Carnac Grand Tumuli. But the chamber can be accessed now, and it's a doozey. Roofed over by a whopping but broken capstone, the chamber is accessed via some modern steps at the far end of the big tumulus. The property next door has built their shed right next to the chamber, it forms one side of the passage into the chamber. It was really getting dark now and I didn't have time to inspect the interior thoroughly, if I did I would have seen some faded ancient carvings. Oh well, next time, for there will be a next time, ive still only seen half of what the Carnac region has to offer.

Er-Grah (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Our fantastic Mr Cope groups Er Grah together with six other big tumuli, calling them the Carnac Grand tumuli, it is a phrase I cannot find elsewhere (granted I haven't tried very hard) so it must be one of his own, possibly.
If it is of the same ilk as Mane er Hroek and the tumulus St Michel then the chamber would have never been able to be entered, they buried the chamber beneath tonnes of Cairn with no passage, so no getting in.
The chamber here, is just visible, the capstone sits proudly just above the cairn. The capstone is again taken from a toppled menhir, but whether it is from Le Grand menhir Brise is a matter for discussion.
There is still no way of getting under the capstone, nor even to try and peak through any gaps as there is no cairn climbing allowed. I know ive sneaked in and there is no one here to tell me off, but some sensitivities remain, and anyway, I'm trying to keep my head down.
The cairn is a massive construction, even now, but originally it would have been much higher, perhaps twice as high as the capstone. Much stone robbing has occurred.
My advice is to get here early, be the first through the door, pay your money, stay a while, and don't be afraid to stray onto the grass. Bloody Frenchies.

Table des Marchants (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Due to sneaking in after hours there would be no getting into the Table des Marchants, which is a shame, I tried the gate blocking the entrance but it was of course locked. Ive been in before, but there was a sign saying no photography, like an idiot I obeyed the sign now I have no photos of it's wondrous interior.

But is it wondrous ? Older pictures of it show it as a simple, massive, but simple dolmen. But today there is a long passage, impressive entrance, and strange stepped cairn covering it all, it all looks great, but its very modern. The dolmen was covered solely to protect the carvings, so, what they've done is erect a modern folly over an awesome megalithic site, I think I might have preferred it the way it was.

Grand Menhir Brise (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

From Mane Rutual I walked up the road to the gate where you can look over it at the three marvels here, Er Grah, Table Des Marchands and Le Grand Menhir Brise. From the gate the big broken stone is tantalisingly close, there was no one around, so, like a very bad boy I jumped over the gate in a trice and had the trio to myself.
If I'd paid to go in I wouldn't have been able to walk on the grass, touch the stone, or even have a good look around it. But as it's after closing time there would be no getting into the Marchants table.
It's all about give and take, ive given Brittany over a thousand pounds, I wanna see the stones and no little gate is gonna stop me. Am I a bad ass or just determined?

Le Grand Menhir Brise was the biggest standing stone in France, possibly in Europe, only Egyptian obelisks are taller, but I don't really class them as standing stones. If you know of a bigger one please let me know. It may have stood 14 meters high, if it ever stood at all. Some parts of the broken stone have been removed to be capstones for nearby and not so nearby dolmens.
The four remaining pieces are most impressive, and no matter where you are in the complex your eye keeps being drawn back to the great broken stone.
Three pieces are still in such a position that you can see they still lie where they fell, but the fourth and biggest piece has somehow twisted around and away from the other three. It is difficult to imagine where the parts that were removed came from as the four parts seem to fit together.
It is a most perplexing and mysterious thing. Oh, and it's very very big.

Mané Rutuel (Passage Grave) — Fieldnotes

The kids had made some friends at the hotel and their parents granted me two hours leave to go see some stones, so with no small amount of glee I bombed it over to Locmariaquer. Followed the signs for Table des Marchands, went straight past it, turned right at the cemetery down a very thin road until I saw the sign for Mane Rutuel. Parking here is precarious to say the least, there is not much room at all.
A path leads you in between some houses and past their gardens, there was someone at the burial chamber before me, so I strolled as slowly as I could. That's the thing about sites around Carnac, you very rarely get the place to yourself unless your there out of season, but I guarantee that they never stay long. The young English family didn't even go in, what's the point ?
This long Allee Couverte sits in an area barely big enough to contain it, there is just enough room for three to walk abreast around it. After walking around it I bent low and passed through the entrance.
There is a lot of concrete here, more concrete than in any other site ive seen here, it's not particularly pretty. The passage opens out slightly into a round-ish chamber, tall enough to stand upright in. But beyond the round-ish chamber is the concrete chamber, it seems cut off from the rest of the monument, like it wasn't used at all, almost all the wall stones are concrete, graffitied and littered. It is best appreciated from the outside, where the concrete is almost invisible.
The massive capstone that sits at the end of the passage is truly gargantuan, the carved human figure on it's under side was not visible to me, mostly because I didn't know it was there. Was this capstone one of the menhirs from the alignment up the road ? it is very rectangular, unlike most other Carnac Menhirs. So I don't know.
But that is where I'm going now, even though it's closed for the day.

Mane Lud (Tumulus (France and Brittany)) — Images

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Bronzo (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

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Grand Menhir Brise (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

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Showing 1-50 of 7,155 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: